Editorial note: the following article was submitted by Joann Vaglica.
Michael Santo has a lot of imagination.
In what began as a way to decorate his home office, the Uniondale-based attorney's ambition to bring a statue of John Lennon has turned into a project with over 17,000 supporters worldwide.
With the help of British sculptor Laura Lian, who first created a limited edition “bust” of John Lennon based on a photo by Bob Gruen in 1974, a life-size bronze sculpture to stand just over six feet and eventually be debuted in New York City is being created.
Placement in New York City is only the beginning of their journey. After receiving a huge outpour of backing, especially the “international reaction,” the duo are confident this project will happen.
“The idea is to have [similar] statues, some differences depending on the location,” Santo, a Nassau Court attorney, said. “For example, [his shirt will read] Paris or Hong Kong. Maybe his hair will be different, or an image from a different era, but the peace symbol will remain.”
The statue has not yet been approved for placement, but Santo said the goal is to “have it erected in a prominent location somewhere in the city…we have a healthy skepticism of it going to Strawberry Fields, but, unless Yoko Ono specifically endorses the idea and that location, it’s not going to happen. There are other prominent locations where it can go.”
According to a Facebook poll, if it can’t be placed at his memorial in Central Park, the popular vote goes to Washington Square Park where Lennon often visited and lived for two years.
Santo also stressed the relation between Lennon and New York City, stating he is baffled at the idea that there are statues in other parts of the world, but none here.
“I think it’s a terrible void that must be filled and I expect it to be,” he said. “The largest following in my view, is in the U.S. It has to be [placed] in New York.”
According to Santo the project has garnered endorsements from people in the political, musical and religious field “to use as a platform.”
After obtaining 40-50 endorsements, the next step is to “address the city government with the backing to say, ‘Look, this isn’t just the whim of [Laura] Lian and [Mike] Santo, this is what X number of people say,” he said. “Sid Bernstein, the singular reason behind the British invasion, has endorsed this proposition.”
Four years into this project, Santo realizes it’s one that can take up to another three to 5 years before the sculpture will make it to grounds.
In the meantime, a 13-inch maquette is available for viewing at the Pop International Gallery in Soho. For more information and updates, visit the John Lennon NYC Statue Project.